Hal Luscombe had a field day as Wales U 21 ran riot at the Brewery Field,
Bridgend, this afternoon, piling up 10 tries on their way to a commanding
second victory of the campaign.
The South African-born Newport centre completed his try hat-trick two
minutes from the end as Wales bounced back from their defeat by France to
add the Italian scalp to that of the Irish.
Cardiff fly half Nicky Robinson got the scoreboard moving with a penalty
goal in the third minute before Wales started doing serious damage with the
ball in hand.
Captain Matthew Brayley, the Swansea centre, was the creator for the first,
scored by Llanelli flanker Gareth Williams, before Luscombe started getting in
on the act.
He started and finished a move that swept half the length of the pitch and by
the 20th minute Wales got their third try when Ebbw Vale flanker Rhys Williams
forced his way over the line from a line-out.
The Italian defence held firm for another 14 minutes - but then presented
Wales with a gift-wrapped score.
Full back Andrea Masi dealt with a long kick downfield well enough and even
made valuable ground running the ball back at Wales.
But when he attempted an ambitious long pass, he only succeeded in finding
UWIC No 8 Rhys Jones who galloped 55 metres for try No 4.
The Italian defence was opened up again just before the break, a long pass
from Robinson creating a three-man overlap, Luscombe ignoring the advantage to
go over for his second and Wales' fifth.
Rhys Jones and Rhys Williams both got second tries from close range soon
after the break before Gareth Swales made the running for Neath prop Adam
Jones to score and then Aled Gravelle (Llanelli), with his first touch as a
back row replacement, got the ninth.
Italy, who had Michael Rizzo and Andrea Frassenello yellow carded in the second
half, still managed to notch up their first try of the tournament, the honour
going to flanker Claudio Mannato.
Luscombe still had time for his hat-trick - but Italy had the last word
with Gonzalo Canale crossing for their second try in the dying seconds.
Wales: Tries - H Luscombe 3, R Williams 2, R Jones 2, G Williams, A Jones,
A Gravelle; Cons - N Robinson 6; Pen - N Robinson
Italy: Tries - C Mannato, G Canale; Con - V Zullo
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.
Defending champions Coleg Sir Gar reached their second consecutive Millennium Stadium final as they defeated Coleg Gwent in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 play-off. Watch highlights of their narrow 10-8 win here.